Wednesday, 11 October 2017 07:55

Feds show the way — Editorial

Written by 
Feds dairy chairman Chris Lewis and Primary ITO chief executive Linda Sissons at the Dairy Apprenticeship Scheme launch. Feds dairy chairman Chris Lewis and Primary ITO chief executive Linda Sissons at the Dairy Apprenticeship Scheme launch.

The bouquet of the week goes to the unfairly maligned dairy sector, in particular the initiative shown by Federated Farmers and the Primary ITO.

The Dairy Apprenticeship Scheme devised by the two organisations and several others will help draw the sting of the arrant nonsense preached by politicians, journalists and the small-but-vociferous anti-dairy lobby in the lead-up to the election.

Smart people in Feds, including Katie Milne, Andrew Hoggard and Chris Lewis, have with ITO put together a brilliant scheme to encourage young New Zealanders to make careers in the dairy industry (although it does have a bit of the look of a former dairy cadet scheme).

It’s no secret that some dairy farmers have been terrible employers and managers of their land and have given the sector a bad reputation.

But now Feds is showing leadership by initiating this scheme and putting in place guarantees in the form of a farm charter and a promise to monitor and enforce standards with the goal of ensuring a safe and enjoyable workplace for the apprentices.

For too long the odds on getting a good employer or employee on a farm have been dubious for both parties. But under the Apprenticeship Act this is removed and the whole process has become a formal one with obligations on both parties.

Feds will mentor the farmers and the ITO will look after the training and pastoral care of the employees; hopefully over time will emerge highly trained young managers who can take the industry to new levels.

Primary ITO calls the joint venture with Federated Farmers a marriage made in heaven for the agriculture sector.

The dairy industry has always had cadets and the apprenticeship scheme is a modern day version of this. Formal training and mentoring was common in all jobs 40-50 years ago, so it seems logical that as the baby boomers move on it’s timely to reintroduce training and mentoring for -- who knows -- excellence.

This initiative is not just talk about getting young people, it is walking the talk; Feds and the ITO and others deserve all the plaudits in the world for making this happen. May this marriage last for years.


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